January 9, 2006 9:32 AM PST

Adobe program rivals Apple's Aperture

Adobe Systems has launched a test version of Mac software that is seen as a rival to a professional photo program that Apple Computer launched last year.

Adobe on Monday offered up a public beta of Adobe Lightroom, a program to help avid shutterbugs manage the work of processing, selecting and editing their RAW-format images. Apple introduced a similar concept with its $499 Aperture software that shipped late last year.


Adobe noted, however, that it has been working on Lightroom for some time, although the final version is not expected until "late 2006."

"We first showed an early version of Lightroom at the Adobe Ideas Conference in April 2005 to demonstrate a new streamlined digital photography experience, from capture to print," Adobe President Shantanu Narayen said in a statement. "Even in beta form, photographers will find world-class technology that complements Photoshop."

While the initial test version is Mac only, Adobe said it expects to eventually offer both Windows and Macintosh versions of Lightroom.

Though the test version should be useful already, the program does not yet have all its features, said Kevin Connor, a senior director of product management at Adobe.

"Certainly, you can do productive work, but there are many things that we plan to add," he said. High up on the list is the notion of "stacking" together related photos--a feature that is in Aperture as well as Photoshop Elements, but not yet part of Lightroom.

special coverage
Apple's new crop
Sink your teeth into all the news from this week's Macworld Expo.

Among the key features already in the product, Connor said, is a "lights out" tool that lets users hide the program's editing tools and look only at the photos in question. There is also an option for photographers to add their own branding to the software so that they can better use the program to show off their work to clients.

The company plans to show off the software at its booth at Macworld Expo, which gets into high gear on Tuesday. The beta is also available free from Adobe's Web site.

Adobe is recommending that those who want to try out Lightroom have a system with at least a 1GHz PowerPC G4 processor, 768MB of memory and a 1,024-by-768 pixel screen. It won't run on systems with less than 512MB of memory.

Though beefy, those requirements are less than those mandated by Aperture. For desktops, Apple's software requires a G5-based iMac or Power Mac with a 1.8GHz processor. It also works on a 15-inch or 17-inch PowerBook G4 with a 1.25GHz chip or faster. The software calls for at least 1GB of memory and 5GB of disk space just for the program and its related files. Apple's recommended system for Aperture is even heftier, with the company pushing a dual 2GHz Power Mac G5 and 2GB of memory.

Apple representatives were not immediately available to comment on Adobe's move.

Connor said Adobe wanted Lightroom to run on a wide variety of devices, including the typical notebooks that photographers have while on assignment. "You shouldn't have to reconfigure your hardware setup to bring in a new piece of software," he said.

The company said final system requirements and pricing have yet to be determined.

Connor did say he expects the price to be somewhere between its $649 Photoshop and its $99 Photoshop Elements, though clearly that leaves quite a bit of pricing room.


Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Yes!! Finally a release for Mac first!
I suspect this is much easier to develope for the macintosh since the technology used (also in Aperature) is integrated into the core of the operating system.

Apple probably released Aperature just to get Adobe to switch to it's developement software.
Posted by jwmoreland (48 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If Microsoft had done such a thing (as creating a program to just get the competition to switch to Windows) you'de be yelling "Unfair!"..."Evil monopoly!"...But when Mac does it it's a-o-k.
Posted by PCCRomeo (432 comments )
Link Flag
Isn't it supposed to be DARK ROOM and LIGHT BOX???
Actually, I know it is. What the hell is a light room?

And I am a designer too! I work with Apple / Adobe products all
day... just seems like a wrong name here ...
Posted by NeverFade (402 comments )
Reply Link Flag
it will be shipped in...
dark box (just like Aperture), so it will even out
Posted by Goose (93 comments )
Link Flag
no duh.
the purpose of the name is obviously to combine the two. it shows that the application can do the jobs of a dark room and a light box in one program
Posted by assman (1101 comments )
Link Flag
Double meaning
It could also mean, since it is digital, you no longer need to be in a DARKroom.
Posted by DragonJoeSmith (16 comments )
Link Flag
What no XP version?
Can I get this in Win XP please? **exits stage left**
Posted by jmanico (55 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If you had paid attention to the story, it says Adobe doesn't have a
Windows version YET.
Posted by bdkennedy1 (58 comments )
Link Flag
We should care?????
Another Adobe bloatware product, following in the grossly
obese Adobe tradition, and who needs it???

Apeture is already everything Lightroom and Photoshop wished
they were, implemented correctly with a truly useful user

Adobe should stick its head back in the sand.

And as soon as I can find an OS X replacement for Aldus's
Pagemaker, the last trace of Adobe's sloppy fingers will be gone
from my computers.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Earl. Get off your anti-Adobe meme. It's boring. Lightroom
looks like an interesting app. And it you're talking about
bloatware......Aperture requires an uber-Mac to make it work. I
look forward to trying both Aperture and Lightroom and I don't
discount either due to gross stupid generalizations about the
companies that produce them.

Are you 10 years old?
Posted by mcthingy2 (64 comments )
Link Flag
Dude, it's beta
First of all, it's beta software. So cut them some slack. Second of
all, it's got some nice features I'd like to see in Aperture (which I
use.) I think this is good that Adobe has brought Lightroom out.
Keep Apple on their toes. Faster software improvements. Let's
not have another FinalCut Pro/Premier fiasco. Let's have two
apps driving each other to greater heights!

Second of all, it's being written completely in Cocoa. So it's
going to be lean and fast. Right now it's much faster than

I'm going to be watching this one closely. What I see lacking in
features, what I miss from Bridge in Aperture, is already there in
Lightroom! Bridge made me much more productive in dealing
with my 16.7 megapixel images. Even on slower G4s. On my
dual 2GHz G5 it's fast! If Lightroom gives me that functionality, I
may have to switch to Lightroom as my main application to use
with Photoshop.

We shall see. Blind loyalty (or derision) does no one any good.
Apple makes great stuff, but so does Adobe. Anyone who says
otherwise is just being contrary, and has no interest in the facts.
Posted by ewelch (767 comments )
Link Flag
*Real* photo editors
Adobe sucks, Microsoft sucks, Linux is too complicated (and hence sucks)! What's up with Mac fan boys? Do you want to buy Hardware, Operating System and Applications from ONE company? If that's the case that company must be an 'evil empire' IMHO.

Adobe makes fine software, sophisticated one at that. Apple applications tend to be basic/rudimentary; look at iCal and Mail client.
Posted by pdude (65 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Ok...look at Microsoft
Apple's software is rudimentary? Look at Microsoft. Outlook
EXPRESS hasn't been updated in years and Windows doesn't even
come with an iCal compatible application. Mac's Mail and iCal apps
are completely usable and I haven't need to use anything but them.
Posted by bdkennedy1 (58 comments )
Link Flag
Pdude, you're wrong
>Pdude said:
>Apple applications tend to be basic/rudimentary;
>look at iCal and Mail client

What are you smoking? Have you not heard of Final Cut Pro? Logic Pro? Motion? Next time I'd advise you check your facts before spouting off. It's annoying, and annoying is now illegal:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/Create+an+e-annoyance%2C+go+to+jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html?tag=fd_carsl" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/Create+an+e-annoyance%2C+go+to+jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html?tag=fd_carsl</a>

Posted by R. U. Sirius (745 comments )
Link Flag
What the?
What in the world do you do for a living that allows you use
pagemaker but no other Adobe product? Man, oh man you need to
get off your high horse and start using InDesign and the rest of
CS2. Maybe then you won't be so uptight because your work life
will much easier. And from my point of view, it's better that Adobe
is creating this rather than Microsoft.

Every software company needs competition -- even Apple.
Posted by ca5ter (176 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The answer is quite simple....
Pagemaker does the job I want simply, cleanly, and with no
extraneous functions getting in the way. That's a concept lost to
Adobe in general, and to In-Design in particular. You don't need
a howitzer to go mouse hunting, unless you're a lousy shot.

And Adobe made it quite clear in emails to me that the Adobe
products were designed for the serious professional, not for the
casual use by a consumer. So, if I wasn't ready to run the Adobe
learning curve, I should use something else. That's about the
only right thing Adobe has come up with.
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
looks good
Why all the hate for adobe? I am very exited about this Program. I feel that it will have a much bigger market share than Aperature, even in the mac market. Aperature is way overpriced for what it does, and it requires ungodly computer power. If you have a $3000 powerbook that you just purchased, you can't even run it. The lightroom beta seems to run ok on a powerbook. I haven't used aperature, but from the reviews I've read the raw coverter is garbage in comparison to adobe camera raw. Another great thing about Lightroom is it will run on windows.
Posted by masterantonio (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot



RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.